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At that time I won't want you to again land up in the thread to tell me the rules.

With the above statement, I wanted to express my desire, but it was interpreted as a command.

How can I rewrite the same statement so that it doesn't sound like a command?

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Your sentence is a little unclear. What do you mean by "land up"? That is not a common construction. Do you mean "end up"? Or "land"? –  Mark Beadles Jul 31 '12 at 13:34

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Here are some softening tricks:

  • Won't is a contraction for will not, which may sound authoritative. Wouldn't can be softer than won't.

  • In the subject of the sentence, use inclusive plural (we, us) rather than the second person (you), which can sound more like an accusation.

  • Avoid embedding pronouns in a statement that make it sound more confrontational (like a you and a me).

After applying these three guidelines:

I won't want you to land up in the thread again to tell me the rules.

becomes:

I wouldn't want us to land up in the thread again, discussing the rules.

Of course, all of these tricks are contextual; they work well when in the midst of a disagreement. I'm not saying to always avoid pronouns like you and me – yet I believe you're sharp enough to figure that out.

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2  
Just a further suggestion - the phrasing "land up" sounds a little odd, and I can't help but suspect that what the OP is really after is "end up". Context is everything, though, and I can imagine situations in which "land up" would work. Nonetheless, I thought it worth at least mentioning: I wouldn't want us to end up in the thread again, discussing the rules. –  Questioner Jul 31 '12 at 10:11
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@Anisha: As an aside, it's not really "beating around the bush," it's being aware of how certain words are interpreted when they are heard or read. My suggested change is no less direct, it's simply worded in a way that's less likely to arouse defense mechanisms, and sound confrontational. –  J.R. Jul 31 '12 at 10:12
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It really depends on whether someone had at some point specifically described the moderator as having "landed" there, or if you are using the concept of "to land" for the first time in this example sentence. Anyway, there's only so far we can go without knowing the situation, so we won't drag this out. I just want to make sure you know that it's not a rule that "land up" is wrong and "end up" is right. It's more of a feel for what sounds right: "end up" is probably right, and "land up" could work, but only if the context supports it. Hope that helps! :) –  Questioner Jul 31 '12 at 10:42
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Is it really cheating? Both the concepts of the plane ending up in the mountains as well as landing (literally) are covered. It could be a response to "Did I just see a plane parked in the mountains?". In other words, someone says they say a plane, and the other person finds that hard to believe - how could a plane end up there? Landing there is difficult after all. If I said "It's difficult for a plane to end up in the mountains." It would mean almost the exact same thing. ;) –  Questioner Jul 31 '12 at 11:05
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@DaveMG Alright, finally thanks for the pleasant conversation. –  TheIndependentAquarius Jul 31 '12 at 11:29

There are many, many possible ways to express a desire politely in English. Some examples follow.

  • I'd really appreciate it if you could ...
  • Would you be so kind as to ... ?
  • It would be nice if you could ...
  • Is there any chance you could ... ?
  • If you could ..., it would be really good.

Don't be concerned that some of these sound like questions. They're really not questions at all.

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They may not be "real" questions, I feel that they are "polite requests". Even a polite request is not a desire. Your examples make me feel that I am "asking" him to do something. Whereas what I want is merely "expressing my desire" without asking him "if he could fulfill my desires". –  TheIndependentAquarius Jul 31 '12 at 9:13
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@AnishaKaul - I don't quite follow. Are you saying you want to express your desire, but don't actually want to ask him to fulfil it? –  user16269 Jul 31 '12 at 9:16
    
I am saying that I want to express my desire, but don't actually want to ask him to fulfill it OR not to fulfill it. :) –  TheIndependentAquarius Jul 31 '12 at 9:18
    
@AnishaKaul So what is the purpose of expressing your desire, if not to manipulate this person into doing what you want? –  user16269 Jul 31 '12 at 9:19
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@AnishaKaul - I'm having difficulty understanding this, possibly because English is my first language, and we possibly don't have exactly what you're looking for in English. If you were to tell me that you wanted something, I would automatically assume that it was a request, and thus feel obliged to EITHER do what you want, OR explain to you why I don't want to do what you want. The concept of someone telling me what they want, then me just ignoring their desire, doesn't really fit within my world view; and possibly not within the world view of other native English speakers. –  user16269 Jul 31 '12 at 9:24

Well, I would use something like:

Would you mind not landing up in the thread to tell me the rules again? I think we have already been here.

It has an authoritative polite tone.

It is the similar to:

Would you mind not smoking?

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Starting with "Would you mind" is a "question". I want to write a "statement", not a question. –  TheIndependentAquarius Jul 31 '12 at 8:52
    
I think it is more like request not question (see the new example) and your so called statement is in the second sentence - it express irritation. In conclusion you politely ask him to do something and express irritation of his desire to do it over and over again. –  speedyGonzales Jul 31 '12 at 9:01
    
your so called statement is in the second sentence - it express irritation. Maybe, I just wanted to remove the irritation part of it. :) –  TheIndependentAquarius Jul 31 '12 at 9:13
    
If don't want to express irritation, how are you expecting him to understand that you don't like it ? Reading your mind ? –  speedyGonzales Jul 31 '12 at 9:21

Sometimes beginning sentences with a positive attire sounds gentle and well non-offensive:

I'd be delighted to have you land up in the thread again to tell me the rules except for that time.

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“It is my ardent desire that you wouldn’t land up again in the thread to tell me the rules, but you are at liberty to choose your own method.”

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